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Alternative Medicine and Hospice Care for LPN/RNs

Alternative Medicine and Hospice Care for LPN/RNs

Hollis Forester, RNC-NP

After being reminded of the value of yoga principles and other alternative therapies recently I began some research in the possibilities of these in relation to expanding the career horizons of the LPN and RN.

With the aging of the population, hospice care has become a valuable specialty in nursing care. Nurses are needed to provide basic nursing care, to oversee the program aides and to be the “eyes and ears” of the physician concerning the condition of the patient. And, of course, these are just the “jobs” of the nurse. Not enough praise can be given to the hospice nurse as she/he tends to the dying individual and their family. The passing from this life is a transition, for the patient and the family, and it demands respect, nurturing and quality of care equal to the most difficult cardiac surgery or neurosurgical procedure. This is also an area of nursing where alternative therapies can be used hand in hand with more traditional methods of palliative care.

Searching the internet has revealed to me several opportunities for nurses to become certified in alternative approaches to palliative and hospice care. Some of the traditions that are taught in these courses include:

• Yoga therapy with in-bed postures
• Reiki
• Aromatherapy
• Nutrition
• Education in death and dying awareness

Clinical experience is offered at large urban hospitals or in your current practice, if appropriate and proper over-sight is available. Learning takes place under the tutelage of expert and respected alternative therapy instructors. These programs are a departure from the typical traditional specialties available to nurses. This is an opportunity to encompass values of wellness and alternative medicine into your care of patients. It may also an opportunity for you to grow yourself for your career as well as for your spirituality. It is a way to give comfort and care to patients when they need it the most, at the transition from this life.

The Hospice Patients Alliance website has a very sweet quotation. It says, “May the path you choose bring peace and comfort to your loved one.” May the path you choose also bring that same to you.

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